The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

July 10, 2011

Fantastic fair food

It’s bad for you, but tastes great

CAYUGA, Ind. — Nothing says summer like county fairs and the dizzying array of midway food.

Everything from cotton candy to elephant ears and funnel cakes to corn dogs … how can one resist?

Well, the temptation might be a little easier to fend off if the fair-goer realized the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of his or her favorite carnival fare.

“As a dietitian, I tell people all food can fit into a healthy diet,” said Carol Shriver, regional clinical nutrition manager for Provena Central Illinois Region.

“However, fair food is high in fat, high in sodium and they’ll fry anything,” she said.

Shriver said fair-goers can allow themselves that one tasty treat from the midway, especially if they usually adhere to a healthy diet every other time of the year.

“If they eat a healthy diet throughout the year, I tell people they can eat one thing at the fair,” she said.

So what’s Shriver’s one fair food downfall?

“I will allow myself to eat a funnel cake once a year at the fair,” she said.

Shriver said she also enjoys the onion rings made by one particular vendor at the Illinois State Fair and refuses to “waste the calories” on just any ordinary onion rings.

Adults sometimes find it easier to exercise self-restraint when it comes to tempting, tasty treats, but what about children?

Youngsters have a tendency to want all those sugary, not-so-good-for-you confections.

“It’s a challenge for parents because parents eat fair food, too,” said Maria Sermersheim, who is certified to teach nutrition and most recently was a program director with the University of Illinois Extension Office.

“There are not many options that are healthy and nutritious, but some options are better than others,” she said.

Rather than purchasing an elephant ear or cotton candy for a child, Sermersheim said a corn dog would be a better choice because “at least there are two servings of food groups: grain and meat.”

“The optimum meal is three out of five food groups,” she said.

Sermersheim said parents also should try to give their children a good, healthy breakfast if they are going to be at the fair around lunchtime.

“It should be something light on calories but nutritious,” she said.

“If you’re going to the fair for supper, feed them a good breakfast and good lunch, and then you won’t feel guilty telling them ‘no’ and they’re not going to overeat,” she said.

Sermersheim advises, “It’s OK to eat ice cream and chocolate, but you have to have a balance.

“You should have it as a treat,” she said. “And with fair food, you should not have it every day or every week.

“It’s about food choices, portion sizes and balanced meals and planning (what to eat) ahead of time,” she added.

“My kids love elephant ears,” Sermersheim said. “How can you go to the fair and not have an elephant ear?”

Shriver agrees that it’s all about enjoying food in moderation.

“A lot of people ask me what moderation is,” she said. “It’s not daily and sometimes it’s not weekly.

“You want to enjoy yourself and enjoy food; just do it in moderation,” she said.

So go ahead and eat that treat that can be found only once a year at the local fair, but beware of the calories, fat and sugar lurking within that deep-fried, sugary goodness.

The following nutritional data was gathered from Internet sources, such as Lighten Up with Kim Bensen and a Yahoo health article by David Zinczenko, author of the “Eat This, Not That” book series.

One deep-fried fair favorite is the funnel cake with powered sugar sprinkled on top. Yum, right? Sadly, an 8.3-ounce funnel cake packs 760 calories, 44 grams of fat and 43 grams of sugar.

Two sweet treats — cotton candy and snow cones — might lack the fat of the deep-fried delicacies, but the sugar content is off the charts.

A 2.1-ounce serving of cotton candy, which is nothing more than spun sugar, packs 220 calories and 56 grams of sugar.

And don’t be fooled by that snow cone. It’s mostly ice, right? Nope. It is loaded with 270 calories and 68 grams of sugar. According to Zinczenko, the snow cone syrup alone contains five tablespoons of pure sugar.

Another sugary enemy is the lemon shakeup. The sour lemons have to be offset by sugar and lots of it.

Depending on the size of the beverage, the shakeup might be a worse option than a snow cone. A 24-ounce shakeup has 300 calories and 74 grams of sugar while the 18-ounce size has 210 calories and 58 grams of sugar.

When it comes to the worst food that could be bought at the fair — or any concession stand for that matter — Bensen and Zinczenko agree it’s the basket of corn chips drenched in nacho cheese.

Oh, the warm, bubbly cheese and salty chips, it just doesn’t seem fair, but that basket is a real belly buster at 1,100 calories, 59 grams of fat and 1,580 milligrams of sodium.

Interestingly, Zinczenko suggests that instead of devouring a basket of nachos, a better choice would be eating a corn dog. Sermersheim also endorses eating a corn dog as that one fair food splurge.

Still, a corn dog has 250 calories (375 calories for a jumbo corn dog), 21 grams of fat and 810 milligrams of sodium.

But who’s counting calories and fat and sugar anyways when enjoying the local fair?

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Library sets program for Farmers' Market

    July 28, 2014

  • Reception celebrates truck

    July 28, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 28, 2014

  • Artists can sell artwork

    July 27, 2014

  • Children’s show auditions set

    July 27, 2014

  • Upward Bound still opens path to college Nervous but determined, the 15-year-old boy walked into a conference room in Columbus, Ohio, for a fateful interview. If it went well, perhaps he’d have a chance to be the first member of his impoverished family to attend college.That was 34 years ag

    July 27, 2014

  • Tilton Redneck Games Today9:30 a.m. — Church services, Stage10:30 a.m. — Mud Bog Registration opens11:30 a.m. — Mud Volleyball, Beer Tent, Vendors and Kidz Zone opensNoon — Toilet seat pitching contestNoon — Tug of War grudge match, Mud Bogs start1:30 p.m. — Hotdog eatin

    July 27, 2014

  • Monical's to rebuild Tilton restaurant TILTON — Local residents could be enjoying Monical’s pizza in Tilton by the end of this year.Monical’s corporate officials issued a press release Friday outlining the rebuilding of the restaurant that was damaged by fire on April 24.According to the

    July 27, 2014

  • Dr kakarla.jpg On the mend

    OAKWOOD — As a mechanic, Charles “Chip” McArty thought he could fix anything … until he was diagnosed with cancer.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Police Report Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleThursdayBattery in the 1000 block of Walnut Street.FridayTheft of a cell phone in a box case valued at $400 taken from the Days Hotel, 77 N. Gilbert St.Danville female arrested in connection with retail th

    July 27, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Must Read